Khadija’s husband divorced her when she gave birth to her fifth child, leaving her struggling to feed her five children alone.
During the long journey to Baidoa, access to food and water was very limited. At some points, Khadija wasn’t sure if they would make it.
“The trip was never easy,” says Khadija. “I still remember the time we went without food and water for a whole day. I didn’t have money. I didn’t have anything else to feed my children. I stopped at every village we passed to ask for food and water for my children.”
“I felt like my baby was dying”
Khadija and her children now live in Hanano camp for displaced Somalians in Baidoa town. She earns a very small income through casual work, but it is not enough to feed her five children. Khadija’s baby daughter, Fatima, became sick and severely malnourished.
“I felt like my baby was dying. She became weak,” recalls Khadija. “She was not eating anything. I felt awful, but I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t have money to take her to hospital.”
“Fortunately, I heard one of my neighbours saying that there was a health centre in our camp for sick children. I didn’t hesitate. I ran immediately to the health centre.”
Khadija arrived at the mother and child healthcare centre, which is supported by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) through the BRCiS Consortium. Eleven-month-old Fatima was found to be severely malnourished, weighing less than 6 kg.
Treatment began immediately and Fatima’s condition started to improve. She regained her appetite and began gaining weight. After ten days as an inpatient, Fatima was discharged from the stabilisation centre to continue with the outpatient therapeutic programme (OTP) for three months, through which she received nutrition services.
“I am happy with the immediate treatment and the help my daughter received from the health centre. I was not expecting to receive this. My daughter got the help she needed just in time,” says Khadija.
“Thank you to everyone who contributes to this much needed health service.”
Thanks to funding support from the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), the mother and child healthcare centre provides urgent treatment for children suffering from severe acute malnutrition. For some children who are very ill, like Fatima, this treatment saves their lives.
The Building Resilient Communities in Somalia (BRCiS) Consortium was created in late 2013. It was founded by a small group of people who had been working in Somalia in 2011 and had seen the famine unfolding before their eyes. The famine took a huge number of lives and pushed Somalis to the limit in their struggle for survival amid one of the world’s longest and deepest crises.
Somalia and the international community had clearly been caught off-guard. As a result, the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, one of the country’s main humanitarian donors, decided that they would change the way they funded aid in Somalia. They committed to multi-year, flexible interventions, supporting the capacity to adapt to change and reduce risks. Thus, the BRCiS story began.
Four years of resilience building in Somalia has taken the BRCiS Consortium on a rich learning journey. The BRCiS approach is based on the principle that resilience programmes must be informed by the people they are designed to serve. We aim to stand by communities during periods of hardship and offer a certain degree of protection, while promoting self-reliance and dignity.
This inclusive approach has led to impactful and sustainable programmes with a high level of community acceptance, that address local challenges and deep-rooted vulnerabilities.